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Sudden inability to work

Ace Contributor
Tarek S Member Since: Sep 10, 2015
1 of 23

Hello Everyone, hope you're all good and having a great time working.

 

I wanted to talk to you today about a certain phase I go through and to see if any of you go through the same thing from time to time and what you do to overcome this?

 

When you're doing great work, everything is so smooth, you finish 12 hours tasks in 2 hours and you feel like you're on fire... then suddenly, you cannot work.. you keep distracting yourself with anything, boring things suddenly becomes very interesting, every time you sit down to start working you become hungry, sleepy, tired, missing family members and HAVE to call them NOW. and you keep doing that until you are few hours to the deadline and you start working really fast to deliver before the deadline and you get angry with yourself for wasting so much time instead of finishing the work in hand and actually take more jobs.

 

Thank goodness I haven't missed a deadline before, and always have satisfied clients, but this state of mind is worrying me that maybe soon I might just not be able to meet a deadline because of this, and I read a lot of articles and nothing helped

 

do you experience such a phase? any idea why it happens or how to overcome it?

Ace Contributor
Fatih K Member Since: Oct 28, 2016
2 of 23

I divide projects into tasks then save them with realistic deadlines using task management services. Doesn't matter when I work on the task, as soon as I complete it properly before deadline.   Before starting to work on task, I do something that I enjoy like watching an episode of the office randomly while having snacks (probably not the healtiest thing to do),  listening music, playing darts etc to relax.  Then I take coffee / tea and start working.  After I finish task, I mark it as completed on task manager. It's my favourite feeling Smiley Happy  Then I do more things that I enjoy as positive reinforcement. (I could also slap myself if I fail to complete task as negative reinforcement.)

Ace Contributor
Tarek S Member Since: Sep 10, 2015
3 of 23

I think this is a good solution

Community Guru
Kim F Member Since: Aug 26, 2015
4 of 23

Time spent eating, sleeping, resting or with family is not time wasted. It sounds as if you aren't taking enough time out so your body is forcing you to. If you schedule time for such things, it won't be an issue.

 

 

Community Guru
Jennifer R Member Since: Sep 15, 2017
5 of 23

@Tarek S wrote:

Hello Everyone, hope you're all good and having a great time working.

 

I wanted to talk to you today about a certain phase I go through and to see if any of you go through the same thing from time to time and what you do to overcome this?

 

When you're doing great work, everything is so smooth, you finish 12 hours tasks in 2 hours and you feel like you're on fire... then suddenly, you cannot work.. you keep distracting yourself with anything, boring things suddenly becomes very interesting, every time you sit down to start working you become hungry, sleepy, tired, missing family members and HAVE to call them NOW. and you keep doing that until you are few hours to the deadline and you start working really fast to deliver before the deadline and you get angry with yourself for wasting so much time instead of finishing the work in hand and actually take more jobs.

 

Thank goodness I haven't missed a deadline before, and always have satisfied clients, but this state of mind is worrying me that maybe soon I might just not be able to meet a deadline because of this, and I read a lot of articles and nothing helped

 

do you experience such a phase? any idea why it happens or how to overcome it?


It is calld the Instant Gratification Monkey.

 

Community Guru
Eve L Member Since: Feb 17, 2017
6 of 23

I did this all the time, and still do to some degree.

 

My first solution to this whole issue was to only take on clients who never gave me deadlines, where I could just submit work whenever I want to. That worked fine for a while, until I realized that I'm not actually making any money. 

 

Now I'm on my second solution, and this so far works fine. I still only have clients who don't give me deadlines (except for one but that just takes 45 minutes every Monday, so I get that done just before I go to bed...), but I make deadlines for myself. And I'm not talking about the stuff you add to a calendar of some sort yourself, because those you can just move to the next day. That doesn't work for me. What I do is that whenever a clients sends me more work I reply with a date for when I will deliver. That means i either have to deliver by that date, or I'll have to get back to the client and tell them that there is a delay. And that I never do, so I always manage to deliver on the date I said I would.

 

The trick is to give yourself long deadlines, that leaves enough time for procrastination. For instant a couple of days ago someone asked me to do something next weekend, and I said no as I'm gonna be working. I have promised a client to deliver a project the following Monday, so I know it will be a long weekend with work, so no time for fun stuff. However, Monday to Wednesday I'm free, because I have to rest a bit before going in to all nighters in the weekend. So yes, a normal person would rather do the work earlier in the week, and take the weekend off. But I know myself, and that plan would never work for me. So I just take time off earlier to make up for the panic mode work later in the week. 

 

It sounds completely insane, but it works somehow. It's like in the video Jennifer shared. The panic monster comes at some point, and that one always wins over the monkey. But before the monster shows up nothing productive is happening.

________________________
Freelancing is a gamble - To win you need skill, luck and a strategy
Community Guru
Valentina D Member Since: Aug 27, 2016
7 of 23

I'd love to say "if you're not ill or something, it is not inability - it's sheer laziness, and stop with it already" but sadly I know exactly what you're talking about.

 

The two things that I found helpful are

- sleep at least 7-8 hours at night, and your focus will improve (this always works, and it works for everyone, no exceptions)

- free time ≠ screen time

 

Also, I'm not proud to say this, but the other day I wrote four (!) articles for a client. I was so deeply into the subject matter that it didn't require any research, but still... And the last time I wrote something for my very own dear lovely literary Medium publication was over a year ago! 

 

I think of myself as of a self-driven person - which I am when compared with an average human (and which all of you are -- otherwise, you'd never be able to freelance) -- and I still frequently wait for an outside force to make me do something. That's just horrible!

Community Guru
Irene B Member Since: Feb 17, 2015
8 of 23

Weeks might go by with me starting work at nine and finishing at 4....non-stop except to go do the essentials...you know, tea, a sandwich, the loo....

 

Then, like now, I go into a slump. For the past few days I have had to force myself to do anything. The reason for this is that all my deadlines are met and the only work I have is stuff that a client needs done 'at some point' and that is not essential. So I do a little...faff in the garden...do a little...go ' oooo look at the butterfly' ...work a little...decide dusting is a DEFINITE MUST RIGHT NOW!....and so I go on. 

 

Next week, however, the milestones are going to come in again...and I am going to be overworked, focussed, and loving it.

 

Meh. Yes! I KNOW I am weird. No need to remind me.

 

 

Community Guru
Janean L Member Since: Apr 6, 2016
9 of 23

In all honesty, I do not do this. I am able to work consistently. I do not say that to be condescending. I say that in a ruminating way: As I consider this aspect of my personality, it occurs to me that it contributes to what makes me a successful freelancer. (I have simply never been a procrastinator. Delay and unfinished tasks create too much anxiety for me.)

Community Guru
Ravindra B Member Since: Sep 27, 2015
10 of 23

No matter whether the job is small or big, exciting or boring, I try to finish it as soon as possible.

 

That way I have time for other things that I like.

 

"Certa bonum certamen"
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